Vaughn Gittin Jr's 1969 RTR-X Mustang – Click above for high-res image gallery
Just what is a "world record" drift? That is the question posed by 2010 Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and many of his fellow professional drifters, following the announcement by Mercedes-Benz that it had set a new drifting record over this past weekend. According to the German automaker, Mauro Calo drifted a C63 AMG around a skidpad for 7,572 feet, topping Gittin's original record of 6,285 feet set in December of 2008 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Impressive, but maybe not so much. Is circling a flat skidpad in a continuous loop until one of the tires blows considered drifting? Or, is real drifting a skill that requires a lot more talent?
Guinness World Records defines drifting as, "driving a car with rear slip angle that is greater to the front." Vaughn Gittin, Jr., and fellow Formula Drift competitor Michael Essa, call that a "donut." After watching the C63 circle the concrete pad for more than two minutes, Gittin was unimpressed. "There are about 60 drivers that show up to Formula Drift every month, as well as thousands of grassroots drifters, that can do giant donuts until the tires pop, as well."
It is time for Guinness World Records to recognize the talent behind drifting, not the spectacle of a smoky donut. To put credibility back into the attempt, Gittin suggests redefining the record as, "drifting without intersecting your drift line." This is the way Formula Drift operates, with competitors tossing their vehicles into turns at 100 mph and holding the car sideways throughout a challenging course. Most importantly, adds Gittin, "This result would be a record that took a lot of skill, balls, and wouldn't put you to sleep watching the video of it." We couldn't agree more.